Technology’s Bifurcated Bite
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Technology’s Bifurcated Bite

1 December 2023


Some workers will win, others will lose as the use of artificial intelligence grows Technological developments—such as factory robots, smart home devices, and self-driving cars—transform the way we live and work. Such developments are exciting in many ways, because they promise higher productivity and standards of living. But they can also be frightening: when the machines take over, how will many people make a living? This is an old question, of course. Fears about technology destroying jobs, displacing workers, and damaging lifestyles arose during the Industrial Revolution—best exemplified, perhaps, by the Luddites in England, who fought life-altering changes in the textile industry. These fears persist today. As then-US Senator John F. Kennedy said in 1960, at the dawn of the computer revolution, “Today we stand on the threshold of a new industrial revolution—the revolution of automation. This is a revolution bright with the hope of a new prosperity for labor and a new abundance for America, but it is also a revolution which carries the dark menace of industrial dislocation, increasing unemployment, and deepening poverty.”

Published in
United States of America


ANDREW BERG , deputy director, IMF Institute for Capacity Development

Chris Papageorgiou
Chris Papageorgiou is a Division Chief in the IMF Research Department.

MARYAM VAZIRI is an economist at the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development.